Early-Bird Specials

Justin Goldman




Regardless of age, experience, or skill level, an NHL goaltender must always prove themselves on a nightly basis. Failure to do so results in an open door or an extra start for their counterpart. From there, the potential for a goalie to collect rust or lose their rhythm and confidence grows. Such is the life of a goaltender, where every minute matters.





Even though the playoffs are clearly out of sight for a handful of NHL goalies, jobs are still on the line. Others are molding their identity by gaining the confidence and experience needed to go from being a backup to fighting for a starter's role. Because of this, how a rookie or pending free agent plays in the next five weeks will go a long way in determining their fantasy value (in a keeper and one-year league) for next season.


Some goalies fighting to elevate and increase their role are playing under a lot of pressure to win. That would include the likes of three stellar rookies – Sergei Bobrovsky, Corey Crawford and James Reimer. Others have nothing to lose this season, but don't have the best job security in the world. That would include the likes of Al Montoya, Brian Elliott and Craig Anderson.


Either way, all of those goalies and many more simply have no room for failure at this stage of the season. And whether a goalie is fighting for their playoff lives or simply pushing for a new salary and a better opportunity, the intensity and importance of every game and every save continues to rise.


So for this week's School of Block session, let's look at some of the goalies that could see their fantasy value be severely impacted by how they play in the next five weeks. I'll also present some great buy-low options for those in a keeper league. Also, be sure to check out the latest releases of my Top-100 Prospects Rankings and NHL Depth Charts, both of which were updated on March 4.



Jaroslav Halak makes a great buy-low option right now.


Simply put, this has been a year of transition for Halak. Not only has he never faced this kind of workload before, but he has never faced any real negative adversity over the course of a full NHL season. Yes, he hasn't played nearly as well as we all expected, but chalk the whole thing up to a massive learning experience. I discussed a lot of his issues way back in November, including the energy drain and the dynamic